Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Be prepared.

The Scout Motto. As a motto, it has a lot going for it.

Certainly better than other two word phrases I hear these days. F*** you. That's Hot. Forget this. Oh YEAH! (Thanks Kool-aid man.) Even Nike's inspiring Just do it doesn't fit every situation. Rob a bank? Just do it. (I know, three words, but short and powerful.)

But what does it mean to be "Be Prepared?"  A quote from the Boy Scout Handbook sums it up:
“Be Prepared.”
“Be prepared for what?”
“Why, for any old thing.” said Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of Scouting.

Why, for any old thing... Be prepared ... to give directions to someone lost (physically or figuratively.) treat someone for heat exhaustion (Hello Phoenix.) change a tire. comfort a friend in need. make a toast at dinner. give a stranger CPR. ...any old thing.

That little phrase has inspired 10s of thousands of young people (Girl and Boy Scouts share the same motto) to learn First Aid, Orienteering, Cooking, Sewing, Woodcraft and Public Speaking. And Scouts today learn skills in Computer Science, Rocketry (is that outdated these days?,) Social Networking, etc. I can only imagine the lives saved, let alone the lives enriched, by following the advice, Be Prepared

Lots of folks think Powell was talking about being prepared for an emergency or even war. And Scouting fell on some hard times for awhile, facing accusations of indoctrinating young people into a military war machine.  Granted, a great portion of Baden-Powell's life was spent battling the forces that opposed the British Empire, and (politics of Imperialism aside) he was darn good at it.  But I think Be Prepared is far more wide reaching.
It's about being a good a neighbor, a good citizen, and a good human being.
Being prepared fits well with the theme of self reliance that I would like to promote here. Expect to see more on the topic. ;)

Next time, "Prioritizing what to prepare for." Because you can't suddenly be prepared for any old thing... or can you?

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